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Asian Shares Gain as Tech Stocks Post Strong Earnings

By Investors Hub

Asian shares advanced on Friday as a rebound by technology stocks on strong earnings and a drop in U.S. Treasury yields helped improve investors? risk appetite.

The European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan maintained their policy mix, as widely expected, helping support underlying sentiment.

Chinese shares reversed early losses to finish higher, led by healthcare stocks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 7.15 points or 0.2 percent to 3,082.18, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 272.99 points or 0.9 percent to 30,280.67.

Japanese shares closed near three-month highs after the Bank of Japan kept its monetary policy steady, as widely expected, but dropped its target date for achieving its 2 percent inflation target. Investors also digested a raft of economic data.

Japan’s industrial output rose 1.2 percent sequentially in March to beat forecasts and the jobless rate held flat at 2.5 percent, in line with expectations, while retail sales and consumer inflation figures fell short of expectations.

Ahead of a long holiday weekend, the Nikkei 225 Index ended 148.26 points or 0.7 percent higher at 22,467.87, the highest closing level since early February. The broader Topix index rose 0.3 percent to finish at 1,777.23.

Tech stocks led the surge, with Advantest jumping 13.6 percent and Kyocera rallying 12.6 percent after the companies forecast strong profits this fiscal year. On the flipside, industrial robot maker Fanuc Corp. lost 9.3 percent after a profit warning.

Australian shares ended notably higher as healthcare stocks extended the previous session’s gains, helping offset losses in the banking sector.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 42.80 points or 0.7 percent to 5,953.60, while the broader All Ordinaries Index ended 39.90 points or 0.7 percent higher at 6,042.90.

Private hospital operator Healthscope rallied 2.2 percent after receiving a $4.11 billion takeover proposal from a private equity consortium, while biotechnology firm CSL advanced 2.9 percent and medical device company Cochlear added 2.8 percent.

AGL Energy jumped 3.2 percent. The company said it would spend up to A$400 million to build a new gas-fired power station near Newcastle in NSW even as it goes ahead with plans to shut down its ageing Liddell coal-fired power plant.

Material stocks eked out modest gains, and gold miner Newcrest jumped 3.1 percent after its quarterly update.

On the other hand, lender Commonwealth Bank lost 1 percent on growing concerns about the quality of its mortgage book, while the other three banks closed firmly in positive territory.

Seoul stocks closed higher on the heels of the historic inter-Korean summit to discuss issues of mutual cooperation. The benchmark Kospi gained 16.76 points or 0.7 percent to finish at 2,492.40.

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Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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